Broker thrives on doing the right thing

It doesn't get much better than helping a single mom keep her home

Broker thrives on doing the right thing

By definition, the work of a mortgage broker is about enabling people to buy their own homes and helping them reach that integral part of the American Dream. Sometimes, brokers have to go above and beyond to keep the dream alive.

Robert Mino (pictured), of E Mortgage Capital Inc. in Irvine, Calif., was recently asked to recall his most impactful transaction. United Wholesale Mortgage officials recently reached out to brokers with whom they do business, asking for their most compelling stories for a chance to join them at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate National Mortgage Brokers Day last month.

As his story powerfully illustrated, Mino more than fit the bill. A couple of years ago, he helped a single mother consolidate more than $60,000 worth of debt so she could keep her home – and, consequently, her daughter in the same school district. Originally, Mino recalled, the borrower thought the only option to emerge from debt was to sell her home outright, which would have meant moving to a more affordable part of town, renting rather than buying again and transferring her daughter to another high school.

“She was super underwater because she was just draining her savings account, and didn’t really know how to keep her home,” Mino recalled during a telephone interview with Mortgage Professional America. “I took a look at the whole picture and told her we were going to find a way to figure this out.”

Under his guidance, the woman was able to take out equity from her home to consolidate debt. “This gave her a little extra cash to make sure she wouldn’t fall behind again,” Mino recalled. Better yet, “she ended up saving about $1,000 a month because she was paying too much.”

Maintaining a professional decorum proved challenging

Delivering the news to the harried mother packed an emotional wallop, Miro recalled. “When I called her back and said I had a solution and you can keep your house, she just started crying,” the broker recalled. “That’s the rewarding part of this job. Obviously, you have the bad parts too when you have the not-so-fun conversations. But when you can change someone’s life and really do something above and beyond where they did not think something was possible…,” he said, his voice trailing off.

He thought through the situation from her perspective: “She was thinking she would have to sell her house and move to a different school zone where she could afford, and then she’d be renting because she thought she didn’t have enough for a down payment – although she did.”

Maintaining the default position of professional detachment proved difficult, Mino acknowledged. “I remember the call at the end, when I said ‘we’re all set’, she just started crying again. I’m not a big crier myself, but that was a time when you almost want to. I was very close.”

Doing the right thing

Allowing for kindness is not a foreign tactic for Mino. Throughout his working life, he said he’s always sought jobs that would yield a meaningful impact from a humanistic perspective.

“It’s really a cool thing to be a part of,” he said. “Prior to getting into finance, I was working as a personal trainer down in Newport Beach California, and a lot of my colleagues were going for the people that wanted to perform better at sports or improve their golf score, whatever. But a lot of people I worked with just wanted to be able to walk a flight of stairs while holding their grandkid and not worry about falling due to instability. For me, the reward has always been in helping people -- everything else follows. If you do right by people and look out for them, that’s the reward.”

After his work in personal training, Mino landed a job at Bank of America as a lending consultant before gigs at JP Morgan Chase Bank and Ladera Lending Inc. Today, he is division manager at E Mortgage Capital, in the process of building out a team.

While the true rewards are in helping people achieve homeownership, Mino said the trip to the New York Stock Exchange he earned with sharing his story with UWM was rather heady stuff in its own right. He expressed surprise at how smoothly the multi-cogged Big Board runs with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine, having envisioned an organized chaos as portrayed in the 1983 movie “Trading Places” depicting the cacophony of commodities trading.

“In my head, I pictured it being a lot more chaotic,” he said. “I know that was a commodities floor and not the stock exchange,” he added, alluding to the movie. “But in my mind I pictured it being crazy. It was very organized, very structured. It was a really cool experience.”

Yet “Trading Places,” while a comedy, had elements of treachery, deception, hubris, and greed. In real life, the currency in which Mino prefers to deal places a premium on doing the right thing.

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